Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon W5 and W5+ Gen 1 chips for wearable devices
Qualcomm, a leading players when it comes to smartphone processors, is also into making chips for wearable devices but yet to record much success in that space. Now, the company has revamped its wearable chips lineup with the launch of Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 and Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 chips.
The first major change is that the company has ditched the Snapdragon Wear branding, and the newly announced chips will be a part of the main Snapdragon branding. Although the Wear branding has been removed, the chips are still aimed at wearable devices.
The Snapdragon W5 is aimed at budget or simpler devices like smartwatches aimed at kids, or fitness trackers, the Snapdragon W5 Plus is for more premium wearable devices. The main difference between W5 and W5+ Gen 1 is that the non-Plus model doesn’t come with an AON Co-Processor.
The platform keeps the hybrid architecture that was found in the Snapdragon Wear 3100 and 4100 chips. The new chips feature a main processor that takes care of interactive tasks, and there’s also a co-processor for an always-on display to help save battery life.
The co-processor can handle tasks related to audio, health tracking features, keyword detection for digital assistants, and notifications. It can also support onboard machine learning, but it’s up to the companies to make use of it.
Another major change comes in the form of the manufacturing process for the chips. The W5 and W5+ are manufactured using a 4nm process for the main processor, a huge jump from the 12nm process for the predecessors. The co-processor is made using a 22nm process, which is also an upgrade compared to the 28nm processor in its predecessor.
In comparison, Samsung Exynos W920, which powers the Galaxy Watch 4 series, is made using a 5nm process, while the Apple S7 chip for the Watch Series 7 uses a 7nm process.
Coming to the battery life, the company says that the W5+can provide up to 50% longer battery life by taking up 30% less space than previous generations. Qualcomm has also worked closely with Google to optimize Wear OS for the new SoC.
Qualcomm has revealed that the first smartwatches powered by the Snapdragon W5 will soon be up for sale. OPPO Watch 3 is said to be the first device using this new chips and will launch next month.